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Buckton,  Alice  Maiy 
Eager  Heart 

$  ff  t 


.   ' 




A.     M.     BUCKTON 




41    EAST  34TH   STREET 






The  Design  for  the  ewer  is  after  BLAKE 


EAGER  HEART  and  her  two  Sisters; 

A  Poor  and  Nameless  FAMILY 

Three  SHEPHERDS  and  a   Young  Man 

Three  KINGS 

VISION  of  the  HOLY  FAMILY,  and  CHOIR  OF 



Peculiar  conditions  attach  to  the  performances  of  "  EAGER 
HEART."     (See  Articles  of  Association.) 

Applications  for  permission  to  perform  "EAGER  HEART"  to  be  made 
to  the  Secretary  of  the  INCORPORATED  COMPANY  OF  EAGER  HEART, 
85  Gracechurch  Street,  London,  E.G.,  from  whom  all  particulars  may 
be  obtained. 


ImbiU.  choir  (S.A.T.B.)  and  orchestra  of  strings,  *«,  ft**- 
(See  analysis  supplied  by  Secretary.) 

OLD  CAROL:   God  rest  you,  Kerry  **ȣ     ^^ 

From  BACifs  Christmas  Oratorio,  as  follows:-- 
Pastoral  Symphony  . 
Gloria  in  Excelsis    . 

(Or  plain-song  Gloria.) 
Slumber,  thou  heavenly  child!  Alto  voice. 
Prepare  your  heart  (shortened}  Alto  voice. 
followed  at  one!  by  chorale:   -How  shall  I  fitly  meet  Thee? 
Four  other  chorales,  viz.  . 

Ful!ar,  the  Cays         -     *  —  "%£££*.• 

I  am  not  worthy  .         .     ,,         »      {  Q  Beauteous» 


rol  (**  to  *  Gained  of  Cov.pany) 



An  upper,  middle,  and  lower  (see 

An  upper,  me,  an  (see 

fixed  dark-blue  *•*«"*"**  '£  *$£%£>  dresses  and  without 
text}  illuminated  ch0lr  of  angeh,  »J£**  udb    a  descending 

wings,  with  arms  upraised  w  joy.     ^^^  by  ^ible  cords, 
curtain.     A  curtain  dividing  to  the  ^f^      Steps  go  up  from 
rests  upon  the  top  of  steps  aScend^ng  to  mzddle  stage. 
floor  of  auditorium  to  sides  of  lower  stage. 

The  lighting  is  from  above,  and  from  the  wings. 



OLD  CAROL  \_sung  by  unseen  choir\ 

GOD  rest  you,  merry  gentlemen ! 

Let  nothing  you  dismay. 
Remember,  Christ  our  Saviour 

Was  born  this  holy  day, 
To  save  us  all  from  woe  and  sin, 

When  we  were  gone  astray. 

O  the  tidings  of  comfort  let  us  sing ! 

In  Bethlehem  in  Jewry 

This  blessed  Babe  was  born, 
And  laid  within  a  manger,, 

Upon  that  holy  morn, 
The  which  His  Mother  Mary 

Did  nothing  take  in  scorn ! 

O  the  tidings  of  comfort  let  us  sing ! 


And  in  the  heavenly  places 

A  blessed  Angel  stood, 
And  unto  certain  Shepherds 

He  told  the  tidings  good, 
How  that  in  Bethlehem  was  born 

The  Child,  the  Son  of  God ! 

O  the  tidings  of  comfort  let  us  sing ! 

PROLOGUE,  an  aged  man,  in  black  cap  and 
gown,  stands  before  the  closed  curtains, 
which  represent  the  doors  to  the  Dwelling 
of  EAGER  HEART:  he  speaks. 

Lo !  as  Earth,  her  vigil  keeping, 
Times  the  year  with  careful  hand, 

So  the  watchful  Soul,  unsleeping, 
Marks  her  days  by  high  command. 

O'er  the  world  to-night,  the  nations, 
Weary,  lay  their  griefs  aside, 

And  with  sweet  and  loud  laudations 
Hold  the  Feast  of  Christmastide. 

Favour,  then,  our  simple  story, 
Picturing  here,  with  gentle  art, 

How  the  Lord  of  Life  and  Glory 
Comes  to  honour  Eager  Heart! 


PROLOGUE  descends  from  stage  by  central 
steps,  and  seats  himself  at  their  foot,  or  as 
part  of  the  audience,  attentive  to  the  play. 
Pastoral  symphony  is  played  by  invisible 
orchestra:  at  its  close,  the  curtains  open, 
discovering  EAGER  HEART  standing  near  a 
low  white  couch  (L. ).  The  back  of  the  room 
is  shut  off  by  a  dark-blue  gauze  curtain. 
Small  table  (R.),  with  loaves  of  bread,  a 
flask  and  a  cup  for  wine :  a  pitcher  of 
water  and  basin  stand  on  floor  near: 
embroidery  work  in  a  frame,  and  a  stool; 
small  lighted  lamp  hanging  before  a  shrine, 
and  picture,  in  a  corner:  also  cage  of  doves. 

E.  Heart.    To  -  night   the   weary   world   is 

husht  and  still ! 
Out  on  the  plains  the  shepherds  watch;  and 


Dwelling  in  cities,  keep  our  doors  ajar, 
Lest    He   should    come    this   way,    the   royal 

Two    thousand    years    our    King!      Alas,   to 

think  , 

How  many  highways  He  must  tread  to-night, 
Will   know    Him   not,    nor   see    Him   as   He 

comes ! 
Yet  every  year,  they  say,  even  at  this  hour 


He  makes  a  sumptuous  progress  through  the 


In  lane  and  town,  with  guards  angelical, 
Mindful  of  that  far  night,  when,  as  a  Babe, 
He  begged  an  empty  manger  of  the  beasts, 
Because  no  inn,  no  single  roof  was  found 
To  cover  Him !     So  be  it  not  to-day, 
My   gracious    King!      Have    Thou    to-night 

sweet  rest, 

Here,  on  this  lowly  couch !     O  deign  thereon 
To  lay  Thine  infant  head !     Mary  and  Joseph  ! 
Come   but   your   steps   this   way,   behold   the 


The  little  frugal  meal  I  saved  this  morn, 
With  joys  of  fasting !     O  that  I  might  be 
Worthy,  dear  Lord,  but  once  to  shelter  Thee ! 

[She  looks  up  to  the  shrine,  trims  the 
light,  and  says,  or  sings  slowly, 
looking  before  and  about  her, 
this  meditation:  then  sits  at  her 
embroidery  frame : 

Dark  is  the  night, 
The  starless  night, 

The  Homeless  are  abroad: 
O  Heart,  prepare 
With  simple  care 

A  shelter  for  thy  Lord 


Crowned  with  power, 
He  comes  this  hour, 

Remembering  the  day, 
When,  as  a  child, 
In  dwellings  wild 

And  poor,  He  came  to  stay. 

Make  thou  a  bed 
To  rest  His  head  ; 

Its  sheet  be  purity  ; 
The  pillow  light, 
With  tears  washed  white, 

Be  Heart's  humility. 

Much  did  it  take 
Of  thee  to  make 

This  couch  so  soft  and  low ! 
Sighs  without  name, 
And  many  a  shame, 

And  tears  that  none  may  know. 

And  set  thy  board 
To  wait  thy  Lord 

With  Bread,'  that  He  may  dine  : 
Bring  Water  sweet 
To  wash  his  Feet — 

A  Cup  to  mix  Him  Wine ! 


This  simple  Bread, 
Alas !  was  made 

Of  harvests  thinly  sown  : 
The  Wine  is  poor  ; 
But  round  the  door 

Its  purpling  grapes  were  grown. 

No  jewelled  hall 
This  quiet  stall, 

But  thatched  with  simple  wit : 
No  monarch  rare 
Has  sojourned  here, 

But  Love  has  lived  in  it. 

O  Heavenly  Child, 
The  night  is  wild  ! 

Come  in  to  me,  I  pray ! 
Make  of  this  heart — 
This  longing  heart — 

Thy  Bethlehem  to-day ! 
\_She  continues  humming  softly  to  herself. 

Enter  R.  and  L.,  on  lower  stage,  the  two 
Sisters,  EAGER  SENSE  and  EAGER  FAME, 
the  first  in  gorgeous  apparel,  the  second 
in  armour  and  helmet.  EAGER  SENSE 
enters  the  home. 

E.  Sense.    What!    sitting  late  at  work,  and 
singing  songs  ? 


E.  Heart.  My  hands  are  busy,  for  my  heart 

is  full  ; 

I  sing  a  song  of  welcome  to  the  King  ! 
E.  Fame.  But  wherefore  linger  here  ?    Think 

you  He  deigns 

Beneath  so  small  a  roof  to  bend  His  head  ? 
How  should  He  find  this  quiet  street,  where  no 
Great  chariots  pass,  no  victory-pageants  roll  ? 
Kings  are  not  wont  to  come  in  these  our  days 
To  poor  and  beggared  doors!      This  foolish 


To  sit  at  home,  and  wait  Him  in  the  house, 
Is  bygone  fashion!     Come  with  me,  away 
Up  to  the  terrace  of  the  capitol, 
Where  famous  deeds  are  done,  and  tapestries 
Blazon  the  walls  with  tales  of  heroes  dead ! 
There,    Fame,    her    golden    trumpet    at    her 

Governs   the   winds   that   sweep    the   echoing 

world : 

And  men,  amazed,  bow  lowly,  worshipping ! 
E.  Heart  \doubtfully\.   Nay,   Eager   Fame ! 

Think  not  I  ask  so  much, 
Or  dare  to  hope  for  that  I  scarce  can  name ! 
And    yet — a    viewless    voice    whispered — He 

comes ! 
Close  at  mine  ear !     I  heard  it  even  now ! 

\Looks  vaguely  round. 


E.  Sense.   Folly !  so  wilt  thou   mope,    even 

unto  the  end, 

Fed  upon  moonlight  'stead  of  merry  flesh, 
Starving  on  sickly  dreams  and  phantasies ! 

\_She  goes  to  the  table,  and  calls  mockingly. 
Behold  the  childish  meal  set  bravely  here 
To  tempt  the  Royal  train !     Water  and  bread ! 
Ha!    ha!    and    peasant    grapes,    that    scarce 

have  won 
The  faintest  flush  of  crimson  [holds  up  flask  to 

lighf\,  trained  by  herself 
Upon   the   walls,  and   pressed  with   her  own 

small  hands !  .  .  . 

Come  to  the  palace  in  the  orange  groves ! 
There  the  loud  viol  plays  the  night  away : 
And  none  is  sick  or  fasting !    Come,  poor  child ! 
I'll  lend  thee  other  garb  and  jewels !     See ! 

[Takes  EAGER  HEART'S  head  in  her  hands. 

This  brow  should  bear  a  diadem  !    This  breast, 
Warm  with  the  matchless  breath  of  innocence, 
Should  gleam  in  vair  and  velvet,  winning  with 

Man's   open    homage!     [Turning    to    EAGER 

FAME.]     Never  be  it  said 
That  Eager  Sense  was  not  of  a  generous  mind  1 
E.  Heart.   Nay,  Sister!    leave  me!     I  am 

well  content 


Wrapped  in  your  costly  robes,  I  lose  myself. 
Yea,  though  the  King  should  lodge  with  you 

I  could  not  find  the  art  to  please  Him  there. 

[  Under  her  breath. 

Listen !    what    voice   was    that,    saying   "He 

comes ! " 

Close  at  mine  ear  ?     I  heard  it  even  now  ! 
E.  Fame.  Nay  then,  we  wraste  our  trouble! 

Let  us  go, 

You  to  the  Palace  where  the  Banquet  lies, 
I    to   the   ramparts!       There    the    answering 


Of  watchmen  on  the  walls  shout  even  now, 
In  token  of  His  coming,  ere  He  come ! 

\_Exit  R. 

[EAGER  SENSE  looks  back  on  EAGER 
HEART  standing  in  a  rapt  atti- 
tude, and  stretches  out  her  hand 
once  more  to  her. 

E.   Sense.   Come,  pretty  wilful!      Take  my 
hand,  be  wise ! 

[EAGER  HEART  shakes  her  head: 
EAGER  SENSE  shrugs  her  shoulders 
gaily,  and  goes  out  (L.). 


E.  Heart  [alone].  Now  have  I  lost  a  chance, 

but  kept  my  hope, 

Dearer  than  present  gain,  or  handled  good ! 
I  part  not  with  it  now  till  daylight  come ! 


'Tis  very  still.     The  night  is  dead  asleep  ; 
Shut  are  the  streets !    [Leans  from  the  threshold 

and  looks  up.~\     Only  the  stars  above 
Seem    strangely   near,   as    if    they,    listening, 

A  far-off  music.     [Distant  choirs  of  "  Gloria  " 

are  heard:  first  eight  bars.~\     Hark,  what 

a  sudden  burst 

Of  voices  from  the  hills  !     The  simple  folk 
Bring   Him  upon  His  way.     He  comes!    He 

comes ! 

Sure  'twas  the  mighty  shout  of  warrior-kings 
That  ride  with  Him  !  O  let  me  forth  to  see, 
And  mix  my  feet  with  those  that  throng  His 

Praying   that    He   will   deign  to   pause    Him 


One  moment,  at  my  threshold,  blessing  it, 
Even  with  His  look.     [Goes  to  the  shrine  and 

picture^     Forgive  me  that  I  take, 
Sad    Face!    this   little   lamp    from   your   dim 

shrine ! 
I  go  to  meet  you  in  the  flesh !     Dear  walls, 


I  leave  you  husht,  expectant  of  a  Guest ! 
Keep  you  all  safe  and  spotless  till  He  come. 

[She  descends   to  second    step,    softly, 

lamp  in  hand,  and  sees  approach 

from  R.  a  poor  road-maker  and  a 

woman,  travel- stained,  in  humble 

garments  and  with  broken  shoes. 

The  man  bears  an  old  spade  and 

basket  over  shoulder :  the  woman 

bears  a  little  child  wrapped  in  her 


Man.      Maiden!     we     pray    you,    of    your 


Give  us  but  shelter  for  this  single  night ! 
We  faint  from  thirst  and  hunger  by  the  way  : 
And  all  the  folk,  it  seems,  have  left !    The  town 
Is  well-nigh  empty,  and  our  strength  is  gone ! 

E.    Heart     [wondering].     These     must   be 

strangers,  else  they  surely  knew 
Why  all   men   are   abroad!      Their   dress   is 


Fashioned  in  curious  guise  of  other  lands. 
Good  folk,  whence  come  ye,? 

Man.  Tossed  on  these  barren  shores 

That  are  no  home,  refused  by  king  and  slave, 
We  wander,  seeking  shelter ;  and  to-night 
We  pray  a  humble  couch  that  we  may  sleep ! 


E.  Heart  \looking  back  into  her  home].  A 
couch  I  have,  poor  friends !  'tis  true — and 
yet — 

A  little  bread  and  wine,  and  yet — and  yet — 
Man    \lifts   his   hand"].    Alas,   that   halting 

word  !  we  know  it  well ! 
E.  Heart.  Nay,  hear  me !     These  are  all  I 

have  prepared 

For  other  guests  ;  ah,  with  what  joys  and  fears ! 
Had  you  wandered  this  way  but  yester-night, 
Freely  was  yours  all  that  I  have  and  hold ! 
But  now — to-night !     Ah  no,  it  cannot  be 
That  I  should  yield  my  hope  so  easily ! 
Man.  What  hope  ? 
E.  Heart.  Perchance   to    house   a 

Royal  guest ! 
The  King  this  hour  makes  progress  through 

the  land, 

In  memory  of  a  night,  a  far-off  night, 
When,  as  a  helpless  Babe,  He  found  a  bed 
With    beasts — because   no   roof  would   cover 


To-day  He  comes,  the  all-acknowledged  King ! 
Saw  you  no  retinue  upon  the  plain, 
Flocking  from  every  race,  and  of  every  tongue  ? 
Man.  No    kingly   train   saw   we   upon   the 

track : 
But  tired  shepherds  closing  up  the  fold, 


Who  stooped,  and  found  us  milk,  and  crusts  of 

E.  Heart.  But  heard  you  not  the  shouting  of 

the  folk 

That  went  to  meet  Him  ?  hailing,  carolling 
The  King  that  had  a  manger  for  His  bed  ? 
Man.  Would  that  a  manger-stall  were  ours 
to-night ! 

[EAGER  HEART  still  looks  doubtfully 
at  her  home.  The  woman  looks 
up  at  the  man,  and  both  with  a 
sigh  make  as  though  they  would 
pass  on.'] 

E.  Heart  \_stretching  out  her  hand,  seeing 
they  have  passed  her\.  Stay  !  saw  ye  not  a 
palace  as  ye  came, 

With  gilded  chambers,  by  the  orange  grove, 
Where  lute  and  viol  play  the  night  away  ? 
Man   [turning].    We    heard    the    lute :   we 

called  beside  the  gate ! 

Our  voice  they  could  not  hear  for  merriment. 
E.  Heart.  Then,  passed  ye  not  the  capitol, 

the  gate 

Where  sits  my  Sister,  dealing  blame  and  praise, 
Weighing  the  great  and  lesser  deeds  of  men  ? 
What  said  she  to  your  tale  ? 

Man.  She  spoke  a  tongue 


We  could  not  understand !     Her  trumpets  blew, 
Deafening  us  as  we  pleaded !     You  alone — 
You  have  we  found,  knowing  our  native  speech 
As  brother  knoweth  brother's !    Yet,  let  us  go  : 
Our  dusty  feet  will  stain  your  delicate  doors  ! 
E.  Heart   [eagerly].  Nay,    speak   no   more ! 

It  shames  me !     Pray  you,  come  ! 
Yours  is  the  Bread,  the  Water,  and  the  Wine, 
The  lowly  couch  on  which  I  thought  to  lay 
The  beauty  of  my  Lord!     Enough!  enough 
That  you  have  need,  and  I  the  hand  to  give ! 
Be  you  my  honoured,  welcome  guests  to-night. 
Forgotten  be  all  else !  my  foolish  dream ! 

[She  descends  to  the  lowest  step,  and 
gives  her  hand  to  the  woman, 
helping  her  up.  Man  follows  her 
slowly.  A  fresh  burst  of  the 
"  Gloria "  (eight  bars)  is  heard 
faintly  in  the  distance.  EAGER 
HEART  is  amazed  at  the  dignity 
of  her  guests.  They  place  them- 
selves at  the  couch,  and  the  man 
goes  to  offer  the  woman  wine  from 
the  little  table,  as  if  he  had  been 
long  familiar  there. 

E.  Heart.  Pray  now  forgive  me  if  I  leave 
you  here 


A  little  space.     Prepare  yourselves  for  sleep. 
Hear  you  the  people  shouting  on  the  plains  ? 
I  would  be  gone  to  worship  with  the  rest, 
Meeting  the  King,  at  least,  upon  His  way! 

[As  she  looks  back,  descending  the  steps, 
the  man  lifts  his  hand  to  her  in 
peace,  and  the  curtains  slowly  meet 
before  her  gaze,  presenting  the 
closed  doors,  as  at  first. 

E.  Heart  \looking  up  at  the  stars"].  O  star  of 

heaven,  so  still,  so  pure,  so  high  ; 
How  art  thou  near  to-night !    Is  it  through  pity 
Thou  shinest  on  me  thus  ?  or  is  it  joy  ? 
Hark  to  the  voices  singing !     Let  me  go  ! 

\_Exit  R. 

Alto   voice    (unseen)    sings    as  follows    (with 
symphony  following,  to  the  word  "fine  "). 

Slumber,  Thou   Heavenly  Child,  and  take 

Thy  rest, 
That  with  Thy  waking,  the  weary  world  be 

blest : 
On   Thy  Mother's  breast,  O  take,  O  take 

Thy  rest, 
And  in  all  our  hearts  give  Peace  1 

Curtain  is  withdrawn  to  both  sides  at  its  close, 
discovering   the    starlit  plain,   where  two 


shepherds  lie  on  the  ground ;  strong,  bearded 
men  with  crooks  ;  a  younger  man  is  feeding 
a  small  Jire  with  sticks :  an  old  man  with 
long  beard  sits  on  rocks  between  them,  facing 
audience,  with  faced  eyes.  Back  of  the 
plain  is  shut  off  (as  before]  with  dark-blue 
gauze.  Frost  lies  on  the  ground:  starlight 
comes  from  above :  a  fold  is  on  the  L.  with 
sheep,  and  a  thorn-bush. 
Young  Man.  Ay,  'tis  a  cruel  night !  A  lamb 
this  hour 

Was   born   in   the   fold,  a  poor  and  plaintive 

And  yet  it  seems  to  suck !     The  piteous  ewe 

Made  bitter  bleating  at  the  first — but  now 

Tis  still ! 

Old  Man.  O  ay !  the  world  is  still  to-night. 

Vender's  the  star  of  hope,  that  brighter  shows 

On   Christmas   Eve !     Sure   it   has   been  the 

Since  I  remember,  lads !  and  that  is  nigh 

On  seventy  year! 

[He  looks  to  a  star,  R 

ist  Shep.   \laughing~\.   Come,  none   of  your 
old  tales ! 

Old  men  and  children  needs  must  have  their 

Dry  teats  to  dandle  at,  like  thirsty  lambs 


Feeling  their  helplessness.    Too  long  have  folk 
Beguiled  us  all  with  comfortable  milk 
To  keep  us  patient,  lest  we  should  cut  our  teeth 
Too  soon  on  wisdom's  corn ! 

Old  Man.  Young  man,  beware ! 

You  too  may  yet  be  old  !     And  cavernous  dark 
Will  be  your  world,  if,  from  the  shows  of  things, 
You  gather  not  a  story  to  remain, 
And  sing  itself,  on  and  on,  in  your  ears 
When  sight  is  darkened ! 

Young  Man  {looking  up].  Say  they  not,  this 

The    King  that   called    Himself  a   Shepherd 


To  visit  all  the  folds,  and  bless  the  sheep, 
Remembering  the  day  when,  as  a  Babe, 
He  begged  an  empty  manger  and  a  stall, 
Because  no  roof  was  found  to  cover  Him? 
2nd  Shep.  That,  too,  is  a  pretty  tale  !  If  once 

He  came, 

Men  never  see  Him  now.     Where  is  the  sign, 
In  these  dark  years,  that  He  remembereth  ? 
Once  it  was  said,  He  never  will  forsake ! 
Thousands   believed    on    Him,    and   waiting, 

We  too  could  worship,  had  we  any  sign ! 

Old  Man.  The  sign  He  gave  of  old  is  the 

sign  to-day ! 


Follow  it,  lads !  with  Eager  Heart,  and  find ! 
ist  Shep.  But  whither  ?     Hunger  and  riches 


Divide  the  land,  like  great  uncleanly  birds, 
Gloating  on  offal !     Half  the  world  is  full, 
Fat  with  excess  :  the  other  half,  naked 
As  that  poor  stranger  passed  us  even  now, 
Leading  the  woman  with  her  new-born  child, 
Who  thanked  us  for  our  crusts  with  tears.    The 


Grows  lawless !     If  her  King  dwell  anywhere, 
'Tis    other  -  where !      He    makes    no    sojourn 

Old  Man.   He  sojourns  here,    my  lads !    or 

not  at  all, 

As  they  with  Eager  Heart  shall  one  day  know, 
Finding  within  their  doors  a  silent  Guest ! 
Young  Man.  But  who  comes  here,  bearing 

a  slender  lamp, 

Climbing  the  perilous  way  with  faltering  feet  ? 
Is  it  a  ghost,  or  child,  or  wandering  maid  ? 
E.  Heart  [enters  middle  stage,  R.].   I   heard 

your  voices,  and  I  turned  aside 
To  know  what  murmuring  doubts,  what  sullen 


Did  clash  upon  the  world  this  blessed  night. 
Shepherds  ?     Nay,  are  ye   shepherds  in  very 

truth — 


Who  ever  brought  the  earliest  news  of  dawn  ? 

Have  ye  forgot  what  hymn  is  sung  to- 

Of  One  the  angels  in  high  heaven  adore  ? 
2nd  Shep.  Fair  maiden,  that  was  long  ago. 
Our  hearts 

Are  sad,  our  ears  are  dull  with  misery. 

Others  may  catch  that  far-off  song  :  for  us 

No  burst  of  music  fills  the  flaming  sky, 

Waking  a  rapturous  Earth  :  silent  she  lies  ! 

Since  midnight  watch  we  here,  and  mark  no 


E.  Heart.  Then,  sure  ye  have  not  listened  ! 
Hark  again ! 

[The  "Gloria"  (eight  bars)  bursts  in 
full  chorus,  yet  as  if  far  away  : 
and  the  light,  for  a  moment, 
increases  on  the  scene.  ~\ 

The  three  SHEPHERDS  start,  and  look  wonder- 
ingly  at  EAGER  HEART  ;  she  looks  towards 
audience,  as  one  listening.  None  look  in  the 
direction  whence  the  singing  comes.  The 
light  gradually  fades  with  the  song,  till  it 
ceases,  in  a  half  phrase*  as  at  a  great 


ist  Shep.  Can  this  thing  be?  our  senses  all 

are  filled 

With   wonder  and  amazement!     [Tiirning  to 

OLD  MAN,  who  has  remained  motionless,  as 

one   unmoved.     He  is  seen  sitting  in   the 

centre  of  the  scene.']     Hist !  old  man ! 

Didst   thou   not  hear  that   far   and   heavenly 

Heart  ravishing? 

Old  Man.  I've  heard  it  all  this  night, 

Floating  above  the  cities  and  the  plains, 
Lifting  the  world-cry  from  a  million  throats 
Until  it  rolled  the  mighty  hymn  of  Peace ! 
Young  Man.  But  why  stand  idle  here  ?     O 

let  us  haste 

Whither  it  went !     It  goes  before  us  still ! 
Deign,  gentle  maid,  to  be  our  guide!     It  seems 
That    thou    wert    sent    to    lead    in    darkness. 

E.  Heart.  My  lamp  is  small,  but  well  the  oil 

has  served 

Thus  far.  Pray,  Shepherds,follow,  then,  with  me, 
Nor  doubt  that  we  shall  find !  [Goes  to  L. 

ist  Shep.  \rising~\.         Come,  then,  old  man ! 
My  step  and  yours  together !  .  .  . 

Old  Man.  Nay,  my  sons, 

Where  would   ye   hasten  ?     Whom   go   ye   to 


AIL  We  go  to  hail  the  King  upon  His  way ! 
Old  Man.   The    King   has   passed   already, 

while  we  sat 

And  prated  of  our  ills  !     I  saw  His  Face  : 
And  my  soul  blessed  Him,  even  as  He  went ! 
[They  look  at  him  in  amazement,  and 

make  signs  to  each  other.] 
Young  Man.  Nay,  leave  him,  comrades :  urge 

him  not :  methinks 

The  eyes  of  age  see  things  we  only  dream  : 
Let  us  be  gone,  my  spirit  burns  in  me ! 

[.Exeunt  L. 
\The  Angel  Choir  glows  visibly  behind 

the  veil,  singing  the  chorale : 
Full  are  the  days  that  should  have  been  ! 
Accept  thine  aged  servant  now, 
And  bid  me  part,  for  I  have  seen 
On  Thy  sad  Earth  Thy  sweet  Face  go ! 

\The  OLD  MAN  lifts  his  arms  heaven- 
ward, as  if  he  saw  before  him 
what  appears  to  be  behind  him. 
His  head  drops  backward,  and, 
with  his  face  to  the  sky,  he  lies 
dead  on  the  rocks. 

After  the  music  ceases,  enter  a  KING  (R.)  in 
the  prime  of  his  age,  and  bearded,  wear- 
ing  purple  robe  and  cloak,  and  the  gold 
fillet  of  a  mighty  ruler. 


ist  King.  The  night  is  dark  :  yet  this  should 

be  the  place, 

The  ancient  trysting-ground,  trodden  how  oft 
By  the  foot  of  mighty  seekers!     Hither  have 

For  nigh  two  thousand  years,  the  Kings  of  the 


Looking  for  Him,  the  Lord  of  every  age, 
And  Answer  to  the  world's  great  riddle,  Man ! 

[Goes  forward. 

Is  man  the  King  ?     Is  there  no  mightier? 
What  heavy  band  is  this  that  binds  my  brow  ? 
Gold !     Gold !     The  living  ore  the  fierce  earth 


To  mark  her  rulers !     Men,  and  tribes  of  men, 
Bow  down  before  me ;  but  I  thirst  to  know 
If  any  rule  be  mightier  than  mine 
In  this  dim  universe !     I  cannot  sleep ! 
Vast   shadows   haunt   my   dreams,    portentous 


Known  to  the  Fates  and  to  the  solemn  stars, 
Till,  from  my  rest,  I  start  with  a  piercing  cry — 
Where  is  the  King,  that  I  may  worship  Him? 
[Reaching  arms  to  stars,   R.  holding 

out  his  crownJ\ 

O  ye  that  hold  the  Night  in  breathless  beauty, 
Your  ways  are  strong,  and  life  is  strong,  and 

death : 
But  the  will  of  man  is  stronger !     What  is  this 


Dumb  giant  in  us  set,  ready  to  rise 
In  one  stupendous  act,  and  empty  itself 
Of  all  it  is  ?     Yea,  in  that  only  deed 
Know  itself  crowned,  complete  !     [Crowns  him- 
self.~\     Woe  for  the  will 
That  hath  not  found  its  King !     Staggering  it 

Like   yon  wild  meteor  through  th*  affrighted 


While  all  around  the  heavenly  bodies  sing 
The  rapture  of  their  great  obedience ! 

[He  turns,  and  sees  2ND  KING  approach- 
ing from  L.,  an  old  bearded  man 
in  turban,  bound  with  the  snake 
fillet  of  the  philosopher  :  he  bears 
a  casket.     They  greet  each  other. 
2nd  King.  Brother,  well  met !    I  thought  not 

here  to  find 

Aught  but  myself  upon  this  barren  hill, 
So  long  defaced,   o'ergrown  with  the  tangled 

Of  this  dark  world ! 

ist  King.  King  of  the  faithful  watch  ! 

What  dreadful  impotence  h^s  brought  thee  here, 
What  trouble  of  the  mind  ? 

2nd  King.  These  weary  eyes 

Have  watched  the  birth  of  peoples  from  the 


And    seen    them    pale    o'er    yonder    farthest 

verge  .  .  . 

[Looks  to  the  horizon.] 
Returning  not  again !     All  beasts  and  birds 
I  question  of  this  mystery  ;  yea,  and  would  force 
The  innermost  secrets  of  the  hollow  earth, 
But  find  no  comfort.      Yet  sometimes  comes 

the  sense 

Of  a  life  beneath  the  changing  show  of  things  ; 
A  glorious  life,  hiding  itself  in  these, 
Eluding  still  my  grasp !     Could  I  command 
That  changeless  substance  once  within  my  ken, 
Then  should  I  know  the  object  of  my  thought, 
And  light  transfigure  all  our  griefs  for  ever ! 
Great  death  itself  would  seem  no  ill ;  and  life 
Our  happy  portion  in  the  perfect  play 
Of  that  resplendent  Being !     See,  my  friend  ! 

[Opens  box. 

This  precious  balm  I  gathered  as  I  went 
By  every  stream — the  fragrance,  bitter-sweet, 
Of  a  gum's  pelucid  tears !     Within  these  walls, 
[Holds  up  a  translucent  lump. 
Behold,  embalmed,  a  perfect  creature,  winged, 
Lovely  as  life,  encrys tailed  here  for  aye ! 
[Passionately]  So  would  I  hold  the  soul  within 

my  thought, 

Clear  imaged,  imperishable !     This  myrrh 
I  carry  with  me  for  my  burial ! 


ist  King.  But  on  this  night  can  be  no  place 

for  death ! 

No  lord  of  death  we  seek,  but  the  Lord  of  life ! 
2nd  King.  Then  must  He  conquer  death,  or 

lose  His  kingdom ! 
ist  King.  But  who  is  this,  that  comes  with 

wandering  eyes 
And  hands  of  worship  ? 

2nd  King.  Surely  'tis  the  King 

Of  the  lonely  Heart,  who  roams  from  shore  to 

shore ! 

[Offering  incense  at  the  woodland  shrine 
Of  every  god  and  demon — joining  hands 
With  them  that  hate  each  other,  and  would  tear 
Each  other's  altars  down — not  seeing,  all, 
The  one  Form  loved  of  every  secret  soul, 
That  all  do  homage  to — the  LORD  OF  HEARTS  I]1 
Hail,  Friend !     How  goes  it  with  th'  Eternal 
Quest  ? 

3RD  KING  enters,  L.  A  young  man  with  an 
earnest  clean  -  shaven  face,  wearing  the 
spiked  circlet  of  Inspiration,  with  jewels  on 
the  points :  his  hair  is  cut  to  the  shoulder  : 
he  bears  a  lighted  censer. 

$rd  King.  Brothers  of  Power  and  Wisdom, 

are  ye  here, 

Faithful  to  your  high  charge?  Now  let  the 

1  Omit  this  passage  in  performance. 


Have  hope,  when  all  her  princes  vigil  keep, 
Yea,  though  she  lie  in  darkness,  as  to-day ! 
Our  feet  have  lost  the  simple  starward  path 
Our  fathers  knew.     Yet  on  this  sacred  night 
Our  ways  have  met  once  more.     Good  omen 


For  all  men's  trysting !     Listen,  Brothers  mine ! 
You  think  to  find — each  his  own  answer!     I, 
With  secret  admonitions  from  my  youth, 
In  every  answer,  seek,  with  a  passionate  hope, 
The  Word  that  bodies  mine  and  yours  in  one ! 
No  monarch  He, — Type  of  our  inmost  dream 
And  Moulder  of  the  world, — but  One  whose 


Measuring  itself  in  heaven,  and  earth,  and  hell, 
Utters  with  every  breath  the  great  desire 
Of  all  that  lives  !     Such  only  may  I  worship ! 

\He  looks  to  keaven.~\ 

Once,  in  a  trance,  I  saw  Him  stand,  the  King, 
And  round  His  garment  ran  a  living  word 
In  the  tongue  of  every  land !     That  Word  was 

Peace ! 

His  look,  the  very  movement  of  His  feet, 
Was  Peace — whose  glory  'tis,  in  a  thousand 


To  rule  by  yielding — die,  to  know  and  love — 
Within  Himself  darkness  and  light  dissolving! 
O  worship  of  my  heart,  appear !  appear ! 


[He  stretches  out  his  arms  heavenwards, 
and  prostrates  himself.  At  his 
prayer  the  Angel  Choir  sings  un- 
seen eight  bars  of  the  "  Gloria' 
which  fade  away :  all  listen  and 
look  at  each  otkerJ] 

ist  King.  Heard  you  no  sound  ?     Methought 

a  shouting  came 
As  of  a  city  welcoming  its  king  ? 

2nd   King.     I    fain    would    think   it!     \He 
turns,    and  sees   Shepherd    lying.~\      See, 
what  have  we  here  ? 
An  aged  shepherd,  frozen  at  his  place ! 

ist  King.   How  like  a  king  he  looks  !     Nay, 

what  calm — 

What  simple  majesty  has  taken  seat 
Upon    this    brow !     Nothing   can    fright   him 


How    would   a    crown    become    him  —  he,    a 
crown ! 

2nd  King  \with  his  hand  half  shading  his 
own  eyes'].     Those   eyes   have  looked  on 
more  than  I  have  seen ! 
O  simple  shepherd !  thou  hast  entered  in 
Beyond  the  door  we  vainly  try  to  pierce ! 
Here  do  I  bow  before  th'  initiate  Dead ! 

$rd  King  \who  has  come  up  slowly,  as  one  in  a 


dream,  takes  up  the  Shepherd's  kancT\.  This 
hand  has  toiled  its  seventy  years  !  these  feet 
Have  gone  upon  the  business  of  the  King! 
Behold  the  face  and  form  of  one  who  knew 
And  ruled  by  love  !     O  Man,  I  worship  thee  ! 

[Swings  his  censer  before  him. 
Within  this  breast  the  Lord  of  hearts  did  make 
A  resting-place !     Surely,  ye  blessed  hills, 
In  you  the  King  must  dwell,  since  here  indeed 
His  subjects  be!     O  fair  unsetting  star 

[Looking  R. 
Thy  burning  beauty  warns  us  !     Let  us  go ! 

\The  i  ST  KING  casts  his  mantle  over  the 
dead  Shepherd,  as  they  leave,  and 
go  out,  R.  Curtains  close  slowly 
together,  presenting  doors  to  the 
Dwelling  of  EAGER  HEART,  as  in 
first  scene,  as  unseen  alto  voice 
is  heard  singing : 

Prepare  your  hearts,  children,  with  tender- 
est  worship,  the  purest,  the  fairest,  this  hour 
to  see ! 

Answered  by  full  choir  : 
How  shall  I  fitly  meet  Thee  ? 

Enter  EAGER  HEART  and  two  SHEPHERDS, 
and  YOUNG  MAN,  lower  stage  L.  They 
stand  in  doubt. 


E.  Heart.  Nay,  it  is  strange!     No  turning 

did  we  miss ; 

The  song  still  guided  us !     And  now,  I  find 
Myself  upon  the  old  familiar  street, 
And  all  is  silent ! 

ist  Shep.  Are  we  the  simple  cheats 

Of  a  too-fond  fancy  after  all  ? 

E.  Heart.  O  friend, 

Dare  not  to  doubt  after  the  thing  we  heard ! 
My  spirit  waits  in  me,  till  we  be  shewn. 

Young  Man.  Me  thought  there  fell  a  footstep 

even  now 

Upon  the  threshold  !  Nay,  what  forms  are  those 
In  jewelled  crown  and  purple  ?     Surely,  sirs, 
These  be  no  ordinary  men  ? 

2nd  Shep.  Mayhap 

They  too  are  seeking  for  the  royal  train, 
And   miss  their  way !      See   how   they  stand 

perplexed ! 

Enter   KINGS   (R.),    lifting  their  hands,    and 
gazing  on  a  star,  invisible  to  audience,  over- 
head, which  sheds  a  soft  white  radiance  on 
whole  scene. 
$rd  King.  Behold  the  star  that  ever  goes 

before  Him 

Stationary  !     It  moves  not  East  nor  West ! 
That  is  the  pilgrim's  Star  ! 

\st  King  (coming  forward].  See  how  its  ray 
Streams  soft  upon  us  now  !     The  King  is  near ! 


E.  Heart.  Great  Sirs !  pardon  me  that  I  dare 

approach ! 

If  ye  too  seek  the  King,  as  by  your  garb 
And  attitude  I  think  ye  do, — permit 
Our  little  company  to  join  you.     We 
Have  wandered  far  to  find  Him,  eager  to  lay 
Our  simple  homage  at  His  feet. 

2nd  King.  Fair  maid ! 

Whoe'er  thou  art,  thou  hast  not  far  to  seek. 
What  roof  is  this?      Whose  are  these  closed 

doors  ? 

Thou,  as  a  dweller  in  the  place,  canst  tell ! 
E.  Heart  [distressed].  O  Sirs,  this  is  a  little 

house  and  mean  ; 

A  poor  maid  dwelleth  here,  of  no  great  name. 
The  star  points  other- where,  methinks,  not  here ! 
ist  King.  Nay,  gentle  child !  we  go  not  from 

this  place 

Till  we  have  seen  the  owner  of  these  doors, 
And  bid  her  open ! 

E.  Heart.  Then,  O  gracious  King, 

Must  I  confess  !  These  humble  doors  are  mine ! 

And  nothing  there- within  is  worth  your  glance ! 

[The  Kings  look  at  one  another. 

2nd  King.    Dear   maid,  think  us  not  harsh 

that  we  persist : 
In  the  name  of  Wisdom  be  those  doors  flung 

E.  Heart,  [at  his  feet>  and  taking  the  hem 


of  his   robe].     Then   must  I  tell  you  all  1 

Therein  doth  sit 

A  Stranger,  with  a  Mother  and  her  Child. 
Three  souls,  upon  this  bitter  night  they  stood 
Begging  of  me,  for  the  sake  of  Him  who  lay 
In  a  manger-stall  in  far-off  Bethlehem, 
A  little  food  and  shelter !     All  my  feast 
Lay  ready  for  the  King !     O  spurn  me  not, 
That  even  I  prepared  a  little  place, 
Hoping  to  house  Him  !     But  these  needy  ones 
I  could  not  leave  unfed  ...  I  took  them  in.  ... 

[KINGS  lift  their  hands,  and  look  again 
at  each  other. 

$rd  King  \turns  to  EAGER  HEART  with  a  look 
of  awe  and  great  joy.  He  raises  her •.]  Then, 
blessed  maid !  we  are  thy  suppliants!    Say, 
What  is  thy  name  ? 

E.  Heart.  They  call  me  Eager  Heart ! 

$rd  King.  Eager  Heart !  gladdest  of  maiden 

names ! 

'Tis  LOVE  commands  thee  open  wide  thy  door, 
And  let  the  pomp  and  glory  of  the  world 
Go  in  to  worship ;  for  the  King  is  here  1 

[EAGER  HEART  stands  trembling, 
•wavers,  goes  slowly  up  to  the  top 
step,  toiiches  the  curtains,  that  part 
before  her.  She  sinks  on  her  knees, 


her  whole  figure  bowed,  and  her 
face  hidden  in  her  hands,  as  she 
sees  Mary  and  the  Child,  in  the 
same  position  in  which  she  left 
the  strangers.    They  are  in  ivkite, 
and  suffused  with   light,    which 
issues  in  a  glory  front  the  hidden 
Child  sleeping  on   the  Mother  s 
lap.  Joseph  stands  behind,  holding 
forth  his  right  hand,  half  hushing, 
half  welcoming  the  worshippers. 
A  single  voice  unseen  sings  : 
I  am  not  worthy  !     Can  it  be 
That  thou  wilt  stoop  to  dwell  with  me  ? 
That,  leaving  fame  and  joys  apart, 
Thou  com'st,  the  Guest  of  Eager  Heart? 

Invisible  choir  answers  ; 
O  simple  souls,  obeying  Heaven 
Unknowing,  unto  you  is  given 
The  King  in  all  His  joy  to  see ! 
As  EAGER  HEART  remains  kneeling  in  middle 
of  bottom-step,  the  KINGS  and  SHEPHERDS 
go  up,  one  by  one,  from  the  groups  standing 
at  either  side.      IST    KING   lifts   off  his 
crown,  and  offers  it  before  him,  as  chorale 
is  sung  by  choir  invisible  : 

Behold  the  King  of  all  the  Earth, 
In  mortal  likeness  of  a  Son, 


Whose  perfect  glory  rules  in  this — 
Father  of  all,  Thy  will  be  done ! 

The  gift,  O  God,  Thou  gavest  me, 
My  spirit  first  receives  to-day  ; 

I  take  possession  of  my  crown, 
Which  at  thy  helpless  feet  I  lay ! 
[He  stands  beside  the  couch-head,  L. 

2ND  KING  goes  up  with  tottering  steps,  bearing 
his  box  of  myrrh  before  him,  as  unseen 
choir  sings  chorale  : 

Behold  th'  immortal  foe  of  Death 

In  one  that  is  content  to  die, 
In  Life  the  heir  of  yielded  life, 

Foreshadowed  in  the  family ! 
The  prison-house  of  Time  dissolves, 

The  inner  dwelling  Soul  is  free, 
Learning  itself,  in  narrow  walls, 

Essence  of  Life  and  Love  as  Thee  ! 

\He  stands  beside  IST  KING. 

3RD  KING  goes  up,  bearing  his  censer  in  his  left 
hand,  his  right  hand  raised :  he  looks  on 
the  Child  with  a  smile  of  inexpressible  sweet- 
ness, as  unseen  choir  sings  : 

Behold  the  Peace  of  all  the  world 
In  tender  likeness  of  a  Child ! 

The  gentle  sufferers  of  the  Earth 
Have  tamed  at  last  her  passions  wild 


In  looks  that  supplicate,  in  tears, 
In  weary,  dark  desires  that  rove — 

Behold  the  gateway  into  bliss, 
Th'  Eternal  call  and  cry  of  Love ! 

\He  rises  and  stands  beside  2ND 
KING.  JOSEPH  beckons  IST  SHEP- 
HERD to  come.~\ 


Sing  we,  sing  we  joyously ! 
Here  we  see, 
Man  may  be 

Free  from  offerings  of  blood ! 
Life  of  pain 
Is  life  of  gain, 
To  the  strong  and  high  of  mood ! 

Sing  we,  sing  we  joyously  ! 
[He  kisses  robe  and  stands  at  foot  ofcouck,  L. 

2ND  SHEPHERD  goes  up  and  kneels. 
Now  no  more 
Need  bitter  war 

Sunder  king  and  serf  and  beast ; 
Bid  them  all, 
Great  and  small, 
To  Earth  and  Heaven's  high  Birthday  feast ! 

Sing  we,  sing  we  joyously ! 
\He  stands  beside  IST  SHEPHERD. 


YOUNG  MAN  goes  up  and  kneels. 
See  to-day 
Soul  and  clay 

Perfect  from  the  house  of  strife ! 
Eager  Heart 
Here  apart 

Sheltereth  the  Form  of  Life ! 

Sing  we,  sing  we  joyously  ! 
[He  stands. 

The  KINGS  and  SHEPHERDS  look  back  to  EAGER 
HEART.  The  3RD  KING  and  YOUNG  MAN 
return  and  lift  her  from  her  position, 
with  one  hand  pointing  her  to  the  Holy 
Family.  The  others  descend  to  the  second 
and  third  steps  below  her.  MARY  looks 
towards  her  with  a  smile  of  welcome 
and  encouragement.  As  EAGER  HEART 
goes  forward,  her  two  hands  before  her> 
outstretched  in  wonder  and  love,  the  Angel 
Choir  glows  visibly  in  the  background 
through  the  veil,  with  their  arms  upraised, 
as  the  last  sixteen  bars  of  the  Pastoral 
symphony  are  heard.  For  the  first  time, 
see  this  vision  with  amazement  and  joy. 

The  curtains  slowly  close  upon  EAGER  HEART 
kneeling  before  the  CHILD  with  her  arms 
outstretched.  The  SHEPHERDS  and  KINGS 


gaze  after  her  as  men  entranced,  the  closing 

doors  leaving  them  outside  on  the  steps.    The 

music  grows  fainter  to  the  close.     The  men 

with  a  sigh  begin  to  descend  the  steps.     As  they 

touch   the  street  pavement ',  enter,    R.    and  L., 

EAGER    FAME  and  EAGER   SENSE,   who   start 

back,  beholding  the  Kings.     EAGER  SENSE  seeks 

to  enter  the  closed  doors,  and  is  debarred  by 

the  raised  arms  of  the  3RD  KING  and  YOUNG 


Kings.  What  seek  you,  noble  ladies  ? 
E.  Fame  \hurriedly~\.  Sirs,  we  heard — 

'Twas  a  wild  rumour  at  the  city  gates — 
The    King   had    passed   this   way.  .  .  .  Two 

beggars  came, 

And  asked  an  audience  of  our  presence  ;  but — 
None  understood  their  speech!    Within  their 


They  bore  a  Child ;  and  on  its  infant  head 
Men  said  there  was  a  crown !     What  may  this 

E.  Sense  {dishevelled}.  And,  at  the  banquet 

under  the  orange  groves, 
The  ruddy  fruit  grew  pale,  the  candles  dim, 
As  suddenly  stood  the  porter  there,  and  said 
A  bitter  wailing  had  he  heard,  without — 
From  two  poor  beggars,  limping  into  the  night, 


Bearing  a  Child — and,   on  the  Child's  young 

He  saw  a  living  flame  ! 

E.  Fame.  O  tell  us,  Sirs, 

If  He  have  passed  this  way  ? 

E.  Sense.  That  we  may  go 

And  kneel  before  His  feet  and  worship  Him  ! 

Kings.   "  Too  late  !  too  late !  ye  cannot  enter 


The  doors  are  shut :  the  hour  of  grace  is  past. 
The  King  that  pleaded  vainly  at  your  gates 
This  night,  hath  entered  in  to  Eager  Heart ! 

THE  SISTERS  gaze  on  each  other  with  dismay. 

E.  Fame.  Woe   for   the  blindness,  then,  of 

Eager  Fame — 

That  set  her  thoughts  too  high  to  know  the  look 
Of  Him  that  cometh  in  simplicity ! 
Here  let  me  weep  my  guilty  life  away. 

\Crosses  L.,  leans  aside  and  weeps. 
E.  Sense.  Woe  for  the  folly,  then,  of  Eager 


That  set  her  lutes  too  ravishingly  sweet 
To  catch  the  true  and  tender  voice  of  truth ! 
Here  let  me  weep  my  guilty  life  away ! 

[Falls  down  on  steps  weeping. 


CHORALE  [sung-  unseen]. 
This  proud  heart  within  me  swelling 

Is  no  palace  rich  and  fair  ; 
But  a  dark  and  gloomy  dwelling, 

Till  Thou  deign  to  enter  there ! 
Ah,  how  often  have  I  turned  me 

From  Thy  helplessness  and  spurned  Thee  ! 

KINGS  and  SHEPHERDS  look  on  the  two  with  pity. 

$rd  King.    Nay,  Sister,  come !  no  tempest- 
rain  of  tears 

Can  wash  the  heart  without  the  toil  of  deeds. 
Return,  and  build  in  thy  gates  a  humbler  throne 
Meet  for  the  Lord  of  wisdom  and  of  love  ! 

IST  SHEPHERD  approaching  EAGER  SENSE  : 

And  come  with  us,  dear  Eager  Sense,  to  learn, 
'Mid  suffering,  and  the  hardness  of  the  world, 
That  sweetest  vineyards  drink  the  sweat  of  man, 
And  royal  bread  is  kneaded  best  with  pain ! 
Thou  in  thy  palace  other  joys  must  make, 
If  thou,  one  day,  wilt  welcome  there  thy  Lord ! 

The  "  Gloria  "  is  sung  unseen,  beginning  faintly, 
as  the  following  words  are  spoken  by 

3RD  KING  and  IST  SHEPHERD,  raising  their  hands: 

Hark  to  the  heavenly  voices,  yet  again, 
That  wake  the  rising  world  !     Let  us  begone  ; 
So  the  great  Sun,  the  Keeper  of  our  Day, 


May  find  us  at  our  doings,  even  in  toil 
Singing  with  happy  hearts  the  glad  Noel ! 

[Exeunt  all:  the  KINGS  following 
following  EAGER  SENSE,  R. 
The  "Gloria  in  Excelsis"  swells 
with  a  sudden  burst,  as  they  go 
out,  seeming  to  welcome  them: 
they  all  hear  it  with  joy  on  their 
faces:  it  continues  to  its  end, 
fading  at  last  into  the  distance^ 


The  PROLOGUE^^S  up  from  audience  with  solemn 
steps,  and  addresses  all  present. 

The  play  is  out ;  the  faithful  feed  in  bliss  ; 
The  foolish  turn  to  find  true  nobleness  : 
Say,  gentle  listener,  at  this  Christmas  tide, 
Is  your  hearth  ready?  are  your  doors  flung  wide? 
Hath  He  come  in  with  you  to  make  His  stay, 
Or  hath  He  passed  already  on  his  way? 

Nay,  let  us  enter  in,  before  we  part, 
And  pray  together  here  with  Eager  Heart, 
That  never,  O  thou  Son  of  Man !  may  we 
Weary  of  search,  or  miss  of  seeing  Thee 
In  every  human  form,  and  human  dress — 
The  Homeless  Child  of  Peace  and  Righteous- 


To  be  sung  in  unison  by  audience  standing : 

"  Veni  Emmanuel" 
O  come,  O  come,  Emmanuel ! 
And  dwell  with  us,  thy  Israel, 
That  mourn  in  grief  and  darkness  here, 
Until  the  reign  of  God  appear. 
Answer:  Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel 
(By  choir) :  Is  come  to  thee,  O  Israel ! 

O  come,  thou  Dayspring  from  on  high, 
With  healing  and  with  purity  : 
Disperse  the  gloomy  clouds  of  night, 
And  death's  dark  shadow  put  to  flight. 
Answer:  Rejoice  !  Rejoice  !  Emmanuel 
Is  come  to  thee,  O  Israel ! 

O  come  again,  thou  heavenly  Might, 
That  once  did  shew  on  Sinai's  height 
Thy  righteousness,  and  changeless  Law 
O  teach  us  now  by  love  and  awe ! 
Answer:  Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel 
Is  come  to  thee,  O  Israel ! 

Printed  by  MORRISON  &  GIBB  LIMITED,  Edinburgh 






Buckton,  Alice  Mary 
Eager  Heart